On the afternoon of December 7th, 1941, I was playing in the front yard of our house in Billings, Montana, when my dad came out to tell me that the Japanese had just bombed Pearl Harbor. I sat down on the grass to pet Tippy, my big, black Labrador dog with one white paw, telling him that we were now at war.
Time went by and my young world was relatively untouched by the war until one evening in August of 1942 when I saw a man sitting on our front porch. He was sitting there with my parents and he kept looking at Tippy. After the man left my dad told me that Tippy was going to become a member of thee Army’s K-9 Corps. It was just a few days later that Tippy was gone and off to war.
For the next two years time moved slowly. I was proud of Tippy but missed him very much. Then one day in the fall of 1944 my mother informed me that Tippy had been wounded on the island of New Britain in the Pacific. The concussion of a grenade had caused Tippy to lose the hearing in his right ear. She said the good news was that he was receiving a medical discharge and would be coming home soon.
It wasn’t too long before the freight station at the local railroad depot called to say they had a kennel for us containing a large black dog. Tippy was home! The family jumped into our old black Ford and went to the station where the wooden kennel sat. Tippy came out tentatively, but then jumped on us and ran to the Ford – he still remembered it. By the time we got home he had become the Tippy of old.
The memory of Tippy has never left me and when I realize that he helped win the war I’m proud that Tippy was my hero wars dog.